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The Ezra Project 
For the Serious Starter in New Testament Greek

Welcome to the Ezra Project!  Whether you're gearing up to take a seminary Greek course or looking for ways to go deeper in your personal Bible study, this site is your personal resource.  Our goal is simple:  to help you take your first steps in New Testament Greek - and do it right!
    I have been introducing students to New Testament Greek since 1972, and it's my delight to take the mystery out of the language for men and women who want to become serious students of Scripture.
                             -- Dr. John Bechtle 

The Ezra Project:  First Stop for Greek Beginners.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

A New Section on Verb Tenses

For the past few months, we have posted expanded explanations of the Greek verb tenses.  I am pleased to report that you can now access this information more easily.  Just click"Level 2 - Grammar" on the left-hand tool bar.  This will take you to a series of articles titled "A Closer Look At" the various tenses. 

Whenever you are studying a Greek verb, it's a good idea to "Take a Closer Look" at the grammar!

11:37 am est

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Small "Oops"

Just because it's in print, it's not necessarily true!  I recently received a newsletter from a well-established Christian organization containing an article on the commands of Christ.  I was startled to find the following statement:

The word hospitality in the Greek is philoxenos.  Philos means "friend" and xenos means "to host and entertain."

I have nothing against hospitality.  My wife and I were just on the receiving end of some incredible hospitality from a congregation in Sapporo, Japan.  And Scripture clearly teaches the importance of opening our homes and hearts to "host and entertain" others.

But this article uses poor Greek to support a valid teaching.  Let's check the accuracy, point by point.

A.  The Greek word for the noun hospitality is philoxenia.  Philoxenos is the adjective "hospitable."  Close, but not quite precise.

B.   Although "friend" is a valid translation of philos, xenos definitely does not mean "to host or entertain."  It is an adjective, not a verb.  And here is the Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich definition for the word:

1.  as adjective:  strange, foreign -- includes figurative meanings:  strange to someone, unacquainted with, without interest is OR strange in kind, surprising, unheard of, foreign

2.  as substantive:  stranger, alien

If you want to explore the etymology of this word, it would be more accurate to say that philoxenia, the Greek word for hospitality, comes from a pair of words that mean "lover or friend of strangers." 

That's not a bad word picture, is it?  A hospitable person throws his life and his home open to people outside his family circle, people who are outsiders.  What a great way to touch the lives of others with the love of God, who loved us when we were His enemies. 

2:38 pm est

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Multilevel Greek - How deep do you want to go?

When people say they want to study New Testament Greek, they don't all have the same picture in mind.  You can investigate Greek at several levels.  Some are relatively simple; others require a larger investment of time and effort.  Here are the most common choices:

Level 1 – Exploring Word Meanings

           Goal:  To understand the meaning of a Greek word.

Guidelines for Word Study" - Basic steps in Greek word study

              "Word Study Resources" - Links to online word study tools [in development]

Level 2 – Understanding Grammar Concepts

          Goal:  To learn how Greek grammar works, so you know what aorist or subjunctive really means.

Grammar Basics" – an overview of Greek grammar

   "Glossary of Grammar Terms" [in development]

Level 3 – Translating the Greek Text 

         Goal:  To sit down with a Greek New Testament and lexicon and translate a New Testament verse for yourself

Greek Behind the Prof’s Back – a self-instructional workbook

Level 4+ - Mastery and Beyond                   
You can continue to grow in your grasp of Greek for the rest of your life, going deeper and deeper into the Word of God.  Once you have mastered the basic content of the language, you can delve into the endless list of books and electronic resources available to you.  The Ezra Project provides you with a launching pad for a lifetime of study.


When you decide to dig a little deeper into the meaning of a Bible word, you should know that there are:

        Two facts about words

        Two stages to word study

        Two methods for doing each stage

Two facts about words

First, words have more than one meaning.  Take a simple English word such as run.  It can be a verb that means "to get from one place to another by moving your legs quickly."  Or it can mean "to keep the engine of your car operating" (even if it's just idling in the driveway).  When your watch runs, the hands go around.  When the lawnmower runs, it cuts grass.  When a stream runs, water flows over rocks.  When your nose runs, you grab a tissue.  Run can also be a noun, whether it refers to a point scored in a baseball game or a torn place in a stocking. 


Please get in touch to offer comments and ask questions about New Testament Greek!  You can e-mail us at:

Ezra Project * 9825 River Oak Lane N * Fishers * IN * 46038